Mobile Suit Breakdown: the Gundam Anime Podcast
A Companion Podcast for All 40 Years of Gundam
MSB is a weekly Gundam podcast for new fans, old fans, and not yet fans. Nina (a Gundam first-timer) and Thom (a lifelong Gundam fan) analyze, review, and research all 40-years of the iconic sci-fi anime mega-franchise Mobile Suit Gundam in the order it was made. We research its influences, examine its themes, and discuss how each piece of the Gundam canon fits within the changing context in Japan and the world, from 1979 to today. Part history podcast, part discussion podcast, all Gundam podcast.

The Karman Line

62 Miles High and Falling Fast

Show Notes

This week, we recap, review, and analyze Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (機動戦士Ζガンダム) episode 11 - "Entering the Atmosphere" (大気圏突入), discuss our first impressions, and provide commentary and research on the Karman Line, a brief history of paradrop operations, and real-world ballutes and atmospherpic re-entry devices.


- Wikipedia pages on Theodore (Todor) von Karman and the Karman Line.

- And Wikipedia pages on paratroopers (and a second one), airborne forces, and high-altitude military parachuting (HALO and HAHO).

- "Yes, Mass Airborne Operations are a thing of the Past," an opinion article by James King for the Modern War Institute at West Point.

- Wiki article for ballutes.

- More info about how ballutes and burble fences work.

- Wiki entry for experimental inflatable atmospheric re-entry devices.

- Wiki page about 2010: The Year We Made Contact.

- More info about 2010: The Year We Made Contact, including some quotes from Syd Mead - a legendary Hollywood mechanical designer who worked on this movie right after the aborted 1983 Hollywood Gundam movie, and many years later worked on an actual Gundam series.

- Explanations of aerobraking and aerocapture, with information on how ballutes could be used in the process.

- A REVIEW OF BALLUTE TECHNOLOGY FOR PLANETARY AEROCAPTURE, by Jeffery L. Hall of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Presented at the 4th IAA Conference on Low Cost Planetary Missions, Laurel, MD, May 2-5, 2000.

- And another paper:

Akiba, R., Hinada, M. and Matsuo, H., “Feasibility Study of Buoyant Venus Station Placed by Inflated Balloon Entry”, IAF-76-154, XXVII Congress of the Inter. Astronautical Federation, Anaheim, CA, Oct. 10-16, 1976.

- Profile on Dr. Akiba.

- Post-Columbia articles about cocoon ballute lifeboats.

- Papers discussing ballute-like reentry devices:

Nanosat Deorbit and Recovery System to Enable New Missions

Clark, Ian G. and Robert D. Braun. “Computational analysis of a tension cone supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator.” 2009 IEEE Aerospace conference (2009): 1-14.

Aerodynamic and Aeroelastic Characteristics of a Tension Cone Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator, Ian G. Clark, Juan R. Cruz and Monica F. Hughes, Joanne S. Ware and Albert Madlangbayan, and Robert D. Braun

- NASA's HIAD (hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator) inflatable aeroshell: mainpage, page on HIAD-2, and page on the low-Earth orbit flight test.

- Video showing (we think simulated) ballute in action, with explanation.

- Footage of a ballute inflating in a test chamber, and video showing a ballute from the perspective of a skydiver testing one.


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The intro music is WASP by Misha Dioxin, and the outro is Long Way Home by Spinning Ratio, both licensed under Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license. Both have been edited for length.

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